Bain first vs. second round?

Bain Bain & Company second round second round interview tech consulting
Neue Antwort am 31. Jan. 2023
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Anonym A fragte am 13. Jan. 2023

 Hi all,

Just wanted to know what are the marked differences between first vs. second round interviews?

Second round is two case studies FYI

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Content Creator
antwortete am 16. Jan. 2023
430+ consulting offers | Highest rated coach for sessions | 5 years @ McKinsey | Author of "The 1%"

Hey there,

Congrats on passing the first round!

95% of partner rounds are just as standardized as the first round, yet be prepared to expect everything. Sometimes they are more conversational and friendly, only with light-touch evaluation, other times they are more challenging. Usually, they are the same. 

The reason why you read about freestyle partner experiences is that they deviate from what people expect, hence they post about it more frequently online, hence giving others the impression it is much more common.

Additionally, partner rounds are often perceived as more challenging, just because it's a partner sitting across the table rather than a more junior colleague. It is purely based on the impression and not on the content. :-)

If there are any deviations from the standard interviewer guidelines, expect them to be in the following realm:

  • Focus on one or two areas where you were perceived as not as strong in round one, which can be specific case questions or fit questions
  • Only doing a case, only doing fit instead of both
  • Doing two shorter cases in quick succession
  • Challenging your answers more
  • Not providing any time for you to think about the answer, making it more conversational

In any case, the most important thing is not to be startled by this and just keep working on the case and fit in a calm manner. 

All the best for your second round!



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Content Creator
antwortete am 14. Jan. 2023
#1 Coach for Sessions (4.000+) | 1.500+ 5-Star Reviews | Proven Success (➡ | Ex BCG | 10Y+ Coaching

Hi there,

Q: Just wanted to know what are the marked differences between first vs. second round interviews?

The second/final round has usually the same structure as the first (fit + case+ your questions) unless otherwise communicated; however in a final round, the interviewers may:

  1. Spend more time on fit and your alignment with the company.
  2. Ask questions related to the areas of improvement for which you got feedback after the first round.
  3. Not use a “standard” case. During one of my finals I had one interview made by two market sizing questions and a brainteaser, without any business case.

To prepare, you can work on the following:

  1. Review in detail your fit answers – they could ask more fit questions compared to the first round. In some finals I had almost exclusively behavioral questions.
  2. Work on the areas they mentioned you could improve, if any (eg. structure, creativity).
  3. Continue with your case prep. If you are tracking your performance, do drills for the areas where you are struggling the most / review cases where you made mistakes instead of doing just random cases.

Extra reading:

▶ How to Prepare for a Consulting Interview

If you need help please feel free to PM me, I know 300+ real questions asked in 30+ Bain offices.

Good luck!


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Content Creator
antwortete am 14. Jan. 2023
MBB | 100% personal interview success rate (8/8) and 95% candidate success rate | Personalized interview prep

Hi there,

I honestly am of the belief that it's more counterproductive to worry about this.

You have to be just as good in both. You have to demonstrate/exhibit the same abilities in both.

The difference between two interviewers is far far greater than the difference between two rounds.

That said, in general second rounds can be a bit more intense, a bit more abrupt, a bit more unstructured, and bit more focused on fit.

Here's some reading to help:


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Content Creator
antwortete am 16. Jan. 2023
#1 McKinsey Coach by rating & recommendation rate
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Anonym antwortete am 13. Jan. 2023

There are two main differences:

  1. Fit tends to be more “intrusive”. The partners will push you harder about a certain part of your experience or personality to check if you are the right fit.
  2. The case can be a bit more unstructured. You may get a seemingly random question from the partner “what do you think about this company Phone” and have a more free flowing discussion rather than a case with exhibits. They key here is to still be very structure and deliver insights.
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Content Creator
antwortete am 31. Jan. 2023
ex-McKinsey | Senior Interviewer & MBA Coach @ McKinsey | Personalized key-skill coaching |Blue-chip Strategy Lead

Hi there,

Theoretically, they should be the same. However, in practice there's a propensity to go off-script with increasing seniority. This could mean very unusual cases or fit interviews, or the lack of either, with a random conversation instead.

The above is still rare but can happen. In case it does, you need to just go with the flow and focus on creating a great connection. Be confident and professional and don't shy back from showing some personality and humor.

Hope this helps. Best of luck!


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antwortete am 15. Jan. 2023
Bain | EY-Parthenon | Roland Berger |Former Head Recruiter | Market Sizing

You just get a more experienced interviewer. That's it. No other difference.

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Florian gab die beste Antwort


Content Creator
430+ consulting offers | Highest rated coach for sessions | 5 years @ McKinsey | Author of "The 1%"
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